Our goal, for the time being at least, is to publish one article per day here at WWR. Discounting the weekend posts, that means we cover on the order of 250 watches per year. Since we don’t cover every new watch we see, I would estimate that we see (collectively) well over 500 new watches a year, and that number is probably closer to 1,000; after all, we read a number of the other watch blogs as well. So this gives us a pretty good pool of watches from which to develop favorites. And that is what this post is all about, our picks for the WWR Top Watches of 2015. This post will cover my picks for the best watches that we have featured on this site, and Patrick and Ken will also chime in with lists of their own.
#5, the H2O Watch Hydra
I own several dive watches, I am also a diver, and I see many more through my work here at the site. Though I have yet to get a H2O Watch on my wrist for a review, I am a big fan of their design. The H2O Watch Hydra just edged out the H2O Watch Kalmar 2 Mokume Gane as my pick for the #5 slot. Is it a dive watch? Is it s a dress watch? Hey, why not both. I love the clean lines, the small second hand, and the stealthy bezel. And the sunburst pattern on the bronze dial is just lovely. Driving the watch is a Unitas 6497 hand wound movement. I have come to enjoy a hand wound movement, and since I don’t have a bank of watch winders, I end up hand winding my automatics anyway. Outside the EU, built with a black DLC titanium case, the bronze dial, and a domed crystal, the watch is $880 on pre-order.
#4, the Archimede Deck Watch
Sticking with a hand wound movement (a 6498 this time, which moves the second hand to 6:00), the Archimede Deck Watch is #4 on my list for the WWR Top Watches of 2015. The white dial with the black text and blued hands is clean and legible, and I think the typeface used is attractive and interesting. On the whole, the work being done by the various German watchmakers is very interesting and attractive, and this watch fits right in. It is also very affordable, with a list price of around $620 (again, without the EU VAT).
#3, the Junghans Meister Chronoscope
This is one Patrick reviewed, but I did get a chance to check out the brand’s offerings at a recent Watch Buys Road Show, and there is a strong design aesthetic that runs through the entire lineup. Done right, a chronograph accentuates the look of a watch, and the Junghans Meister Chronoscope is definitely done right. I like the recessed look of the sub dials, and I know how nicely the domed crystal and thin bezel maximize the size of the dial. It is just a pretty watch.
#2 the Arnold and Son Golden Wheel
I was talking to another writer a while back and was asked about my grail watches, and Arnold and Son was one of the watch makers that immediately leaped to mind. I think MB&F gets a bit more attention when it comes to these exposed complications, but I would put this brand up there with anyone making beautiful, intricate, and unique movements. So what is the complication in the Arnold and Son Golden Wheel? The hour is read on the arc from 10:00 to 2:00, with one of three disks displaying the current hour, and the other disks positioning themselves to be read in turn. So there are thee disks spinning on their own axis, with the whole assembly then rotating about the central axis. Then, just because this is not enough, Arnold and Son decided to add in a true beat second hand. I can’t tell you why people who pretty much only wear mechanical watches, partly due to the sweeping second hand, drool over mechanical beating second hands, but we do. I only assume people who wear quartz watches laugh at us.
#1 Romain Jerome Skylab 48
I am not going to pretend to understand what it is about Romain Jerome that just strikes a deep, resonant chord within me (well, minus the video game and Day of the Dead watches), but I do love this brand. That same conversation where I mentioned Arnold and Son as a Grail watch, well, RJ was in there as well (as was MB&F). With the Romain Jerome Skylab 48, they really created something that gets me weak in the knees. Fitting in with the brand DNA, you get the signature paws on the big, but not comically oversized case. But the real beauty comes in with the skeletonization done to the dial to show off the movement. There is so much open space and the bridging is so pretty, in an industrial design kind of way. It is readable, showy, masculine, and, for the space geek inside of me, it uses a bit of Apollo 11 metal in the watch. Yea, the “One small step for man…” Apollo 11. Anyone care to give me $21,000 to buy a watch?